7 Quick Takes (2)

Good Morning!  It’s Friday!  Jen at Conversion Diary hosts 7 Quick Takes Friday.  Go visit her for more!

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I am heading into my 3rd trimester of this pregnancy.  I think that’s incredible.  This pregnancy seems to be flying by.  I’m sure it’s due to the fact that I don’t have much down-time, but seriously…where. has. it. gone????  We don’t have the crib up in Dominic’s room yet. And maybe it’s the fact taht it’s the 5th baby or maybe some other reason, but I’m not freaking out about the fact that all my baby clothese are still packed away in the boxes my sister brought them to me in and I haven’t been stocking up size 1 diapers or formula yet.  I seem to have the attitude that it will get done whenever it gets done and if the crib isn’t up when the baby comes, we’ll get it up at some point.  Ah…the laid back feeling of been there, done that, right?

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Lent.  Can you believe we are two weeks away from Good Friday?  I love Lent, but I gotta say, this delayed season and late Easter has kind of gotten on my nerves.  I think I like it better when Easter falls early April.  My kids will only have four weeks of school left after Easter!  That’s crazy! 

But anyway…how is Lent going?  I have to say that I have had a hard time staying focused this Lent.  I started reading The Virtue Driven Life by Father Benedict Groeschel…and I like it, but I am halfway through and have no motivation to pick it back up.  We HAVE made theWednesday night masses at our parish, as a family, so I am happy about that.  I made it confession, although I’m tempted to go again.  I love going to confession.  I’m avoided meat on Fridays…but as for my other intentions, I’ve just really mailed it in I feel like.  Oh well, I pick up every day and think, “Well, I’ll try to do better today…”

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I am coaching Track for 4th – 6th graders at our school.  The team is comprised of kids from our parish school, and two other schools.  This has been a different coaching challenge than the volleyball.  With volleyball, you have just 8 or 9 girls and it’s easier to keep the whining from hitting crescendo with a smaller number.  There are about 20-25 kids for track and when one starts half-assing on the runs and whining, it quickly escalates to half of the kids doing it.  Thankfully, the lady helping me out is a physical education teacher who is strong on “tough-love” and lower on the empathy scale than I am who had no problem talking these kids’ language.  But man, it really wears me out!  And I feel bad for the ones who are perfectly willing to do the things we ask them to, but end up having to do pushups because the other half of the kids can’t stop whining/talking/jacking around/whatever it is.

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The Swimming.  I was doing pretty good at getting my swim workout in at least twice and sometimes four times a week.  But, I have been so. TIRED.  Third trimester fatigue set in a little early, I think, which means my patience is very short.  I feel so bad for my kids at this point.  It doesn’t take much to set me off and I don’t go WAY off, but I might yell or snap or snark.  Perhaps being busy and away from them is good.  Anyway, swimming is about to be over with, I think.  I was getting in good long swims on Saturday mornings, but now we have track meets on Saturday mornings.  By the time I *can* go again, I probably won’t want to go anymore.

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Sarah wants to go to Challenge Camp this summer.  I want Sarah to go to Challenge Camp this summer.  But I will miss her!  It’s in St. Louis.  They have daily Mass and Adoration plus all sorts of other activities.  Sarah has really enjoyed being in Challenge this year. 

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Our priest has agreed to say a special Mass during NFP Awareness week!  It will be on a Monday, which isn’t my favorite choice necessarily, BUT…it is July 25 which is the anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae and we’re calling it a Humanae Vitae Mass.  I kind of got chosen from the Respect Life group to call and ask him about doing it and therefore…you guessed it…I’m in charge of it.  I don’t mind necessarily but now I am worried if it won’t be successful.  Of course, stuff like this is always in the hands of the Holy Spirit.  Aren’t we coming up soon (in May??) on a Novena to the Holy Spirit?  May have to have a special intention there.

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Names.  We are considering names for our baby boy.  This has been difficult for me.  Once I settled on Dominic for a boy name when we were pregnant with Helen, I knew that if I ever was blessed with a boy, his name would be Dominic.  For Dominic, the middle name was the more difficult part of deciding his name.  Now…we have the middle name figured out for this little guy, but we have not settled on a boy name.  We are between two choices and really they were both put forth by my husband.  I, on the other hand, have been woefully inept at coming up with a name for this little boy.  Since I can’t seem to come up with anything different, I must consider the choices my husband had suggested. 

I like both of the names.  One of them is a fairly unique name (although lately I have read two commenters on blogs who refer to a son by this name!) and the other is more common in Catholic circles.  The first does not lend itself to nickname…which I like!  The second, unfortunately, does lend itself to a nickname that I really don’t care for but my husband does not mind.

I suppose time will tell.  Perhaps I’ll get some great inspiration for a completely different name.  Or maybe we’ll grow to like one of these two names over the other.  This is almost as hard as naming Sarah was! 

I hope you have a great weekend!!

PS:  Don’t forget about my Giveaway! I will post the winner Monday morning!  🙂

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Umbilical Cord Blood Donation

I mentioned here that I didn’t think much about the mechanics of becoming a mother the first time around.  And I also mentioned that I probably wouldn’t change that much about my experience.  One thing I would change, though, if i had the opportunity for a do-over is I would have donated every one of my babies’ cord blood.
Umbilical Cord blood is rich in adult stem cells that can be used for cures.  There is a documented successful treatment of Cerebral Palsy with Umbilical Cord Blood.  And there is an official Cure of Leukemia using Umbilical Cord blood.  
I first heard about Umbilical Cord Donation in 2005. I fully intended to donate Helen’s Umbilical Cord blood.  When I inquired when I was 33 weeks pregnant, I found out I was too late.  The paperwork needed to be submitted by 28 weeks at the time.  I was very sad.
When pregnant with Dominic, I got on it and got my paperwork in by the deadline (which was now 32 weeks).  When Dominic was born it took only a minute or two for my doctor to collect the Umbilical Cord Blood and we called the courier to come and get it.  I was so happy that we did that.
I’m a big proponent of Umbilical Cord Blood donation.  However, there is the opportunity for people to bank their children’s Umbilical Cord Blood for use later.  It wasn’t something I ever considered, but it is an alternative.  It’s pretty pricey.  I would imagine it is very beneficial should your child or his sibling be diagnosed with a disease.  However, it’s risky because you could pay all sorts of money to bank your child’s Umbilical Cord Blood only to find out it’s not a match should you need it for your child or a sibling.  Then you are still in the same boat as if you hadn’t paid the money to bank it.
This is why I’m big on the Donation aspect.  There’s no guarantee if you pay a lot of money to bank your baby’s Umbilical Cord blood that you will need it or it will meet your need.  But if you donate it, it could meet the needs of someone else.  And what a blessing!
Donating Umbilical Cord Blood requires a lot of paperwork.  We have gone through Cryobanks Intl.  We fill out their donation paperwork (and…no lie, it’s extensive) and I have my doctor fill out and sign his part and send it off.  They mail you a collection kit with instructions on how to notify them that you’re going into labor and they work with couriers to come to the hospital within an hour or two of collection and obtain the donation and get it to their network in time to be stored.  And none of this costs you anything!
It is amazing when I think about it that cures for some terrible diseases could come from something as simple as the blood that runs through the Umbilical Cord while the baby is growing in his mother’s womb!  Isn’t that just like God, though?  To provide for us in the most simple, and humble place, the powerful thing which we need?  And the best part of all is that no one is giving up life to provide this powerful thing (the way embryos are sacrificed for Embryonic Stem Cell Research).  In a very real way, LIFE is affirmed for us through the cures obtained with the use of donated Umbilical Cord blood.

If you’re still of child-bearing age and you have another child, I highly encourage you to look into Umbilical Cord Blood donation.  It’s some paperwork and a little inconvenience, but if it’s not donated, it’s simply discarded in the “clean up” after the birth of your baby.  And there are so many rich, useful adult stem cells in the blood, it seems quite a shame to waste it.

The Clear and the Fuzzy

A clear memory: 

I was 9 and in 3rd grade and I went with my sister to spend a weekend with my Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex.  My older brother and my two younger siblings were going to stay with a family from our school.  Mom was making a trip to attempt reconciliation with my Dad.  The whole weekend I was busy doing crafts and playing at Aunt Bea’s house, but I was anticipating Monday.  Monday, my dad was coming back with my mom.  I just knew it.  And then we were all going to live in Rhode Island together.  The nightmare that my parents were getting a divorce was over!

A fuzzy memory:

I have no idea what, in particular, I did during those days.  I remember going to sleep every night and waking up every morning wondering if it was Monday. 

When Mom picked me and my sister up on Monday, I don’t quite remember how it went.  Mom visited with Aunt Bea for a little bit and then drove us the 60 minutes back to Topeka and dropped us off at school.  We were tardy, but I was in high spirits..

A clear memory:

No one said we were moving to Rhode Island, and that Mom and Dad had worked things out…but I believed it with my whole heart.  Why else would Mom have been gone the entire weekend?  They were looking for a house where we could all fit, checking out schools, right? 

At recess, I was sharing my joy with the two girls I talked with/hung out with at recess.  I was parlaying my big plans for our reunion as a family when one of the girls laid it to me straight.  She said, “Michelle…your parents are not getting back together and you’re not moving.  I hate to see you get your hopes up for something that’s not real.”

I cried.  I tried to argue, but couldn’t find the words.  I wanted to scream that she didn’t know what she was talking about.  But at some point it hit me that I hadn’t actually been told for sure.  I mean, my mom said something about how her visit went well with our dad, but he didn’t come home with her.  And I began to realize that without the physical presence of my dad, I couldn’t trust the words that came from my mother and I couldn’t trust my feelings. 

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Looking back, of course at the age of 9, I couldn’t process what was happening.  However, in that moment, I was beginning to see the dashed hopes and dreams lying within the falsehoods of my pronouncement.  I can see now that the idea – the dream – that my parents were not getting divorced was entirely of my own making.

I died a little bit that day.  It was the beginning of my realization that Daddy wasn’t coming to get me.  And that Mom wasn’t taking me to him, either.  I remember that as the last day I ever thought or wished that my parents would get back together.  It was the beginning of what became an outlook on life that has stuck with me to this day:  “You can’t rely on any one person in this world.  Suck it up and shut up and move forward.”  Eventually, I learned that I could rely on my siblings and I could rely on God.  I don’t think I’ve ever completely believed again that I could go to my parents with a problem and get true help.

I consult my dad, sure.  We talk about things.  However, there’s a wall there that prevents his counsel from becoming something I completely turn to and rely on.  Bits and pieces of his counsel find their way into my reasoning, but many times I credit that to the fact that my father and I have a similar worldview and I’d probably go that route regardless of whether my father put words to it.

Later – when the days and weeks had passed and I got brave again and asked my mother why certain things were the way they were, I got told many times, “Your dad walked out on all of us, not just me” or “Your dad didn’t want you” and “Your dad doesn’t love us anymore.”  Only as an adult can I see the horror of those statements.  Only as a mother who would never dream of killing her children’s hearts, can I detest the hatred behind those statements and the hurt they inflicted. 

Yes, hurt motivated the statements.  I realize that.  My mother was hurting.  She was rejected.  She was desperate.  But to share that hurt with her children is something I find so difficult to comprehend.

I am blessed that the hurts my children experience are “children-type” hurts…however, it pains me to see my children hurt.  And if I am ever the one to inflict the hurt on my children (and let’s be real, I’m an adult and I’m human, so I have done it…I have hurt my children’s feelings) it absolutely breaks my heart back on myself. 

*******

Part of what led me to counseling three years ago was an experience where I was blessed to hear what I just said from my daughter’s point of view.  And I remember thinking immediately after that…”oh my gosh, that is something my mother did to me and I was so humiliated.” 

That night I pulled my daughter into her bedroom and I hugged her and I told her that I was sorry.  I admitted my fault.  I said I was wrong.  I told her that sometimes, I need to learn to hold my tongue.  I told her that I loved her and that I would try not to talk to her like that again.

And I called to make an appointment for counselling the next day.

Blog Makeover Giveaway!

As promised, I’m doing a giveaway.  I have never done one before!  But I’m excited to do it.  I want to “pay it forward” so to speak.
I enjoyed working with Kelsey, as detailed here.
In order to enter the giveaway, here’s what you gotta do:
  1. Go visit Kelsey and take a look at her portfolio, then come back here and comment about your tour of her place.
  2. Do a blog post of your own about what you would like to see changed on your own blog, mention the giveaway some link love to me.  Comment when your post is up.
  3. If you Twitter, tweet your post you did from #2, then come back and comment that you tweeted.
  4. Link to your blog post in #2 to your Facebook page and come back and comment when your Facebook post is link to your blog post is up.
The more you do, the more chances you have to win!  You will win a blog makeover from Kelsey at kreatedbykelsey!  

Entries close at 7:00 p.m. Friday.  I’ll learn how to do that random generator thingy and I’ll post the winner the following Monday morning (April 11).

Happy Commenting!

Showin’ Off My New Look!

And here it is!  Kelsey at Kreated by Kelsey is wonderful!  
Back when Rebecca at The Road Home unveiled her new blog, I knew I HAD to enter her giveaway for a new look!  When I won, I was jumping up and down kind of excited!
I have been blogging here since January and last year I had a blog that I ended up taking down in December, but had been blogging a little over a year.  When I read other people’s blogs, I would have this wondrous curiosity about how great some of them looked.  Other people’s blogs didn’t look jumbled and pieced together.  Mine just seemed to look so………amateur.
Now, I have this beautiful blog and it’s all thanks to Rebecca and Kelsey!  I love it.  
But telling Kelsey what I wanted was difficult only because I’d never really thought about it.  I had always used what Blogger has available for designs.  I had no idea about formats, backgrounds, fonts, signatures…oh my, there was so much!  A phone call with Rebecca helped me focus and then lots of searching the internet for something that fit my title of Endless Strength, the Bible Verse I use in my header and my personality.
My background picture is no accident.  It took nearly a week of searching online photo directories for what I was looking for.  But once I saw this photo, I knew I had to purchase it.  I am not disappointed, either!
As for the fonts, Kelsey was awesome.  I simply asked if she could recommend a few that might look good.  The choices were so overwhelming.  I knew I liked Rebecca’s font for her posts and I liked her signature, too.  When I was thinking of something for my own signature, I thought of the fact that Sarah puts on all of her school work, by her name JMJ…which means, Jesus Mary and Joseph.  It’s kind of like a greeting/salutation that to a reader who understands it says, “In Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Yours Truly” or something like that.  I liked the idea of signing off with JMJ because I want the vision of the Holy Family to be with me always.
As a side note, our family learned this prayer from another family that we add on to our before meal prayer every time:

  “Jesus Mary and Joseph; Please help our family and every family to be a holy family, united in love and respect.”

When I see JMJ on Sarah’s papers, and now on my blog in my signature, I think of that prayer and I keep them on my mind.
What do you think?  Do you like?  🙂
I plan to have a post up Sunday night and will be taking entries for a giveaway for a blog makeover from Kelsey at Kreated by Kelsey.  I’ll have the criteria up and all that stuff on that post.  So be sure to make it back and enter as many times as you can (especially if you want a makeover at your blog!!!)